Copper Thieves Target Vacant South Wichita Warehouses

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Police are looking for suspects in a copper theft that is costing the owner of a Wichita warehouse around $200,000.

"The buildings were pretty much stripped clean of copper wiring, plumbing fixtures," said Wichita Police Lt. Doug Nolte.

Officers say they responded to 2037 Southwest Blvd. around 5:00 p.m. Monday to find two vacant warehouses had been stripped of copper wiring and pipes. Investigators estimate the stolen copper was worth a few thousand dollars, but the thieves caused extensive damage to the buildings. Police say thieves often cause a greater expense as they're stripping metal from the structure, over what the metal is actually worth.

"Then a bigger issue becomes if [the owners] can't [afford repairs], that building sits vacant for longer than it should," said Nolte.

Police say copper thefts are on the rise again, as metal prices increase and as the weather gets warmer. Officers suggest the public be aware of their surroundings, and keep businesses locked and secure. Police say people should not hesitate to call them if they notice any suspicious activity at a vacant building.

Investigators are still searching for suspects in the case.

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